by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”Not only do the Knights of Kaneland boys basketball want to deal with the ghosts of last yearâ€™s regional heartbreaker against the DeKalb Barbs, they also have to deal with the six-foot-10 gap in the middle of their lineup that finished 17-10 in 2010.
Dave Dudzinski takes his impressive skills to Holy Cross this fall, still leaving coach Brian Johnson a talented roster.
â€œItâ€™s something thatâ€™s going to be really different for the boys,â€ the second-year coach said on Tuesday. â€œWe relied heavily on Dave. He was our best player and one of the best players in the state of Illinois. The guys are going to have to have an adjustment period where they deal with trying to figure themselves out.â€
Seniors include forwards Chaon Denlinger, Tyler Callaghan and Matt Spitzzeri and guards Matt Cowans, Andrew Oâ€™Herron and Zach Ringhouse.
Juniors are forwards Sean Carter and Bryan VanBogaert and guards Trever Heinle, Tyler Heinle and Jacob Razo. Sophomores are Kory Harner and Dan Miller at guard, along with Kyle Pollastrini at forward.
Three frosh are along for the ride in the form of guards Drew David and Thomas Williams and forward Daniel Helm.
â€œWeâ€™re going to lean on Chaon and push him to be a complete player both offensively and defensively as a 2 or 3, and heâ€™s got a deadly shot,â€ Johnson said.
The team is eagerly awaiting a full-strength roster after football season concludes, and to write a new chapter after the disappointing end.
â€œI know the guys here from last year definitely had a bad taste in their mouths, but want to get back and have that feeling of playing in a game like that. I think about it a lot and what I could have done differently,â€ Johnson said about the 50-47 regional title loss.
As usual, Kaneland begins things at the Strombom Tournament in Sycamore on Tuesday, Nov. 23, against Chicagoâ€™s Hope Academy.